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Mexico in America

Bolivia is coming to San Francisco! New Zealand to the Rose Bowl! Iceland to Charlotte! Ecuador to New Jersey! Senegal to Soldier Field! And a sixth team, to be announced, to Houston!

Tasty World Cup appetizers for American soccer fans -- except for the fact that the marquee national team participating in those friendlies is Mexico, not the United States.

Soccer United Marketing, the commerical arm of MLS that has the rights to schedule and promote Mexican friendlies in the States, announced six dates and venues for El Tri. Meantime, the national team that allegedly represents America is scheduled to play four home matches: the 3-1 loss to Honduras last weekend, vs. El Salvador on Feb. 24 in Tampa and two tuneups in late May against opponents (and at venues) to be determined by the U.S. Soccer Federation. (The USA will also face the Netherlands in Amsterdam on March 3.)

There are piles of cash to be made on Mexican friendlies in the States, and one could make a legitimate argument that what is good for SUM is good for the sport in this country. However, one has to wonder if such matches are in the best interests of the U.S. program as a World Cup approaches. Should there be greater emphasis on the American squad? Could SUM and the USSF work more closely to advance the game through U.S. friendlies, setting aside the fact that Mexico matches are much more profitable?

Just some thoughts.....

What do you think about the SUM-Mexico marriage?

For the complete Mexico schedule.....

Feb. 24: Bolivia at Candlestick Park in San Francisco
March 3: New Zealand at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena
March 24: Iceland at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte
May 7: Ecuador at Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey
May 10: Senegal at Soldier Field in Chicago
May 13: Team to be determined at Reliant Stadium in Houston

By Steve Goff  |  January 28, 2010; 3:09 PM ET
Categories:  MLS , Mexico , U.S. men's national team  
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Next: African Cup, Sol, Cabanas, U-20s


Candlestick...sigh. What a pit.

Posted by: EssEff | January 28, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

given the subpar quality of most of those teams, those matches shouldn't help Mexico prepare much for the World Cup.

The US playing the Netherlands in Amsterdam is way more helpful than playing Iceland in Charlotte.

Posted by: diego_r | January 28, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

@EssEff, where would u have perferred them to play? The Coliseum? AT&T Park?

I guess Stanford would have been a nice stadium for the match.

Posted by: CACuzcatlan | January 28, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

@diego_r Mexico is also playing Holland England and Italy starting in late May. I don't think that will help them much either.

Posted by: The_Realism | January 28, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I guess Stanford would have been a nice stadium for the match.

Posted by: CACuzcatlan | January 28, 2010 3:32 PM

Isn't Stanford Stadium soccer width unfriendly now?

Posted by: Kev29 | January 28, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Before I insert my own foot into my mouth - when was the last time El Tri played a friendly in its own country?

I'm happy that SUM makes money and hopefully it's investors (MLS owners) use this to offset their domestic costs of operation. I hope it brings our league and ultimately our national team program forward.

However, I abhor the continued promotion and celebration of anything that's not the USSF. I figure this sport is the last bastion of true nationalism anymore and I'm sick of the treatment that our team receives. Is the USSF/SUM actually converting the second generation immigrant as a fan and a potential source of talent? I'm beginning to doubt it. Hopefully there's a "long-term" view to this where the tide massively shifts and MLS and the USMNT is the power in the region - but at present, it bothers me that FANS OF THE USMNT seem to be dwarfed by every other Latin American identification.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | January 28, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised there's no effort to schedule one or two of those teams against the USA, as long they're in country...

Way off topic, but is Arsene Wenger belittling his Brazo-Croatian superstar?

"Eduardo has a small, small, small hamstring. He will be out for one week. He will not make Man United but he might make Chelsea."

How big are his hamstrings going to get with a week in the training room?

Posted by: fischy | January 28, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Maybe after sell outs all of those cities the ones without SSS will spend 100k to get a study showing the economic benefits of SSS's?

Posted by: csd1 | January 28, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I guess the day when significant amount of fans actually show up to the games everytime the USMNT plays in greater numbers than the visiting teams, that's when they'll start really promoting the US team instead of Mexico.

But, how can that be done? it really is sad when the US has to play Honduras at the HDC and 70% of the fans are Hondurans, and they start "oleing" the US team everytime the Honduran players touch the ball. Is it the responsibility of USSoccer to sell the team to more fans so they can fill the stadiums everytime the team plays? whose responsibility is it?

Posted by: WillyJoel | January 28, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Mexico is a huge footballing nation and we know that the U.S. based expats will come out of the woodwork to see El Tri play. North America (which includes Mexico and Canada) is one market anyway so if the business is there I don't begrudge SUM to promote these games to make a profit. The economics are there for SUM and El Tri - thats reality. My thinking is that by promoting international games in this country - even the Mexican national team games helps build interest and awareness of the game in general. Stadium owners like this too as they now have another source of income from these games which helps the local economies. Any benefit to the U.S. program would appear to be ancillary but I don't think there is a real down side to this.

Posted by: sbg1 | January 28, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Ruud Gullit was right when he said it would take two more generations before footie is a big enough thing in this country for the USMNT to get bigger crowds.

Posted by: Juan-John1 | January 28, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Mexico 2:2 (0:1) Nigeria
14/10/2007 Juarez Friendly

Posted by: Reignking | January 28, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

why do we only have 5 friendlies scheduled when they have time to play 9?

and, what's the point of a world cup warmup friendly when maybe 2 of the players are even going to be on the roster?

Posted by: joe_hill | January 28, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse


I agree - I don't begrudge SUM making money. I'm sure it's the investment and access to SUM that helps attract the new owners to MLS knowing that beyond their club they have another revenue pool for their operations.

I merely make the point that hopefully growing the game from an awareness standpoint is behind us. The fact that you can stage as much football here as exists currently is testament to the demand for the product. I'm calling for the novel idea that one day the USMNT will play a game in this country, qualifying or friendly, fill an NFL stadium, and won't feel as though it's the visiting side.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | January 28, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: I-270Exit1 | January 28, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Ruud Gullit was right

Posted by: Juan-John1 | January 28, 2010 4:34 PM

Ruud Gullit is never, ever, ever right. Even when he is, he isn't.

Posted by: Kev29 | January 28, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

As long as there's a market for it and it's not illegal, they can do what they want. Can't really blame them. But, do wish the US had more matches in the runup, regardless of where the games are played.

Pele said the same thing as Gullit - back in the late 1980s.

Posted by: hacksaw | January 28, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

why do we only have 5 friendlies scheduled when they have time to play 9?

and, what's the point of a world cup warmup friendly when maybe 2 of the players are even going to be on the roster?

Posted by: joe_hill | January 28, 2010 4:46 PM

I think you've put your finger on it. Most of the Mexican team pool, I believe, plays in Mexico. It's fairly easy to get them together for training and for a quick hop up north for a game here. Contrast that with the first-team USMNT, which consists almost exclusively of players now in Europe. So, the USSF can either schedule games here and make some money (the crowds are nothing like the ones Mexico draws) with a second, or even third-choice side, or they can try to pull in the first team from across Europe on the few open international dates, for games in Europe which don't earn a lot of coin for the USSF. They split the difference. Bradley looks at a few possible options with the MLS and Scandinavian players, while they're on break, and then gets a game or two in Europe to see how the first-team is doing.

It's far from ideal -- however, if the USA starts to develop more quality players, those MLS-focused matches might be more useful...and bigger draws. USA fans aren't stupid -- the team we sent out last week was the equivalent of the US Open Cup roster that DCU plays. If you are OK with seeing prospects and don't mind paying to watch imposters wearing the uniform, you'll go -- but most fans won't. If the quality of the MLS players keeps getting better, then I would expect more USA fans to turn out.

Posted by: fischy | January 28, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure the USSF scheduled exactly as many friendlies...and against just the type of teams...that Bob Bradley asked them to.

I'm just glad that some group associated with US soccer gets a piece of the action. These friendlies help DC United stay in DC for the time being.

Posted by: teo_68 | January 28, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

fischys right.

any USMNT that has Dax McCarty wearing #10 isn't worth paying full price to see.

Posted by: VTUnited | January 28, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Why would any Mexican-American cheer for the USA when he/she can watch the Mexican team as much, if not more, in person? SUM stands for States United for Mexico.

Posted by: Hoost | January 28, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Mexico really knows how to arrange pre-World Cup tuneups. It's too bad that Bradley and Gulati cannot do the same. I find it really pathetic that Mexico can come to the US, where they are hated by many, and not only make money, but also play some good matches before the WC in South Afica. I think part of the reason that Bradley does not have the US in more matches before June is because of the number of US players that play in Europe and would lose playing time for the club team if they left their team for a national team friendly. Also I think Bradley has the personality of a door knob and cannot forge good relationships with coaches outside of CONCACAF.

Posted by: no_recess | January 29, 2010 8:03 AM | Report abuse

SUM is just abreviated for gotta get me sum ca$h.

C.R.E.A.M Dolla Dolla bill y'all!

Posted by: yankiboy | January 29, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: I-270Exit1 | January 28, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Are you dreaming of money, or are you bored by it?

Posted by: WorldCup | January 29, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

All top level soccer on US soil is good for the game in a country that the mass media disrespects the game. I applaud ESPN for their coverage of the EPL and La Lige. It's time for the mainstream sports fan to stop being so bigoted of soccer,football,or futbol.

Posted by: zosodave | January 30, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

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